I just finished reading a book called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book explores psychology, sociology, and epidemiology to identify conditions and causes for a variety of epidemics: from popular shoes, to the 1990’s crime reduction in NYC, and teen suicide. Gladwell provides analysis and reviews of case studies and research showing the connection of human behaviors that is not intuitive.
Of all the new ideas presented in this book, the main point I identify with is the idea of a maven. A maven is someone who accumulates knowledge and these people often share this information with others. Mavens have in depth knowledge about topics of their interest. Gladwell cites Mark Alpert as a prototypical Maven who is “almost pathologically helpful.” “A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own.”
I think it’s critical that we each understand who are the mavens in our social group for the same reason that it is critical to know the source of information. As the development of technology and super speed communication immunize us to educational information, we need to have an information filtration system and know who to trust; I think this is the role of the maven.